Second-Half Surge leads GSU past UNF, 3-1
Jacksonville, Fla.—The Georgia State men’s soccer team battled back from a 1-0 halftime deficit by netting three second-half goals to earn a 3-1 win at North Florida and capture the title at the Mike Gibbs Memorial Tournament on Sunday.
Tournament MVP Alex Vivanco knotted the match early in the second half with a goal at the 53:27-mark off a feed from sophomore midfielder Peter Kurowski. The senior corralled a through ball from Kurowski just inside the 18-yard box and fired a low shot into the right side to beat a diving Brad Sienkiewicz of North Florida (1-1).
Redshirt junior Caleb Kernan scored the game winner on header off a cross from freshman William Mellors-Blair in the 60th minute. Kernan’s first goal of the 2012 season helped Georgia State to the win and its first 2-0 start to a season since 2003. Mellors-Blair notched his second assist in as many matches on his way to earning All-Tournament team honors.
“Unbelievable goal from Caleb Kernan, it was a great ball from Will and then Caleb hit a diving header just inside the post,” third-year head coach Brett Surrency said, “We have great wingers and that is something going forward that we are going to try and take advantage of.”
Vivanco added an insurance tally and secured the first two-goal match of his career when he chipped home a low cross from senior Gimel Gordon at the 64:12 mark. With the assist and the game-winning goal on Friday in GSU’s 1-0 win at Jacksonville, Gordon was the third Georgia State forward named to the All-Tournament team.
Redshirt sophomore CJ Cochran made one save to earn his second win of the season. Senior defender Peter Vania was named the Defensive MVP of the tournament after GSU surrendered just five shots and one goal in two matches.
“Pete doesn’t get the accolades that other defenders get, but he is our guy back there defensively with Chris Locandro,” Surrency said. “I was happy to see Vivanco, Gimel and Mellors-Blair get recognition, Vivanco is a guy that is growing into the striker role. Will and Gimel were fantastic in both matches.”
Georgia State owned a 12-6 advantage in shots for the match, including a 9-2 edge in the second half on a windy afternoon in Jacksonville. The Panthers also maintained a 5-1 lead in corner kicks. Georgia State has now won four of its last five regular-season matches and owns a 3-2 advantage in the all-time series vs. North Florida.
“In the first half, the wind was in our face and they scored a great goal to go up 1-0,” Surrency said, “I thought in the second half we played some very nice soccer and were able to put up a few goals.”
GSU hosts its first regular-season home match of the 2012 season on Saturday against Evansville (7 p.m.). Admission to all Georgia State matches at the GSU Soccer Complex is free for all fans. Visit the men’s soccer page on www.GeorgiaStateSports.com for a preview of the match later this week.